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R E P O R T O N E N V I R O N M E N TA L I M PA C T O F R O H I N G YA I N F L U X

Hill Cutting, Soil Erosion and Stream Congestion To accommodate large numbers of Rohingya people, a number of hills have been cleaned and cut indiscriminately, and shelters have been set up on the hills. Steps have been cut into the slope to facilitate access to the shelters.

Typical fuel wood

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Photo: SDC/A. Egli

Fragmentation of Wildlife’s Territory and Corridor The area from TWS to the Himchari National Park is almost a continuous hill belt covered with degraded forest vegetation. This allows wildlife, especially the Asian elephant, to move freely from one side to the other in search of food. The elephant’s habitat and corridors have become fragmented as a result of Rohingya settlement inside the forest.

Human-Wildlife Conflicts The Teknaf-Ukhia forest area is a habitat comparatively rich in wildlife, where wild elephants, deer, wild boar, monkeys, birds, squirrels, red jungle fowl and different types of snakes still exist. The construction of Rohingya shelters inside this territory means that people and wildlife are now cohabiting. During the movement of both wildlife and humans, there is high possibility of incidents of humanwildlife conflict; wildlife is at risk of being hunted and killed, and people are also at risk. There are reportedly incidents of deer hunting by Rohingya for meat, and some Rohingya have been killed by wild elephants48. In addition, local poachers may seek to exploit the situation.

Hill cutting loosens the soil and can result in soil erosion, sedimentation and siltation - a washing out of the valuable fertile top soil that will make the hills unsuitable for supporting any valuable vegetation cover. The eroded soil will also cause stream congestion, which might hinder stream flow, which in turn will result in habitat loss, water pollution and water scarcity further downstream. Hill cutting and the clearing of vegetation cover also increases the risk of hill and land slide at the time of monsoon rains. Denuded hills become dry and usually generate cracks, and in the rainy season there is more chance that water will enter into the denuded hills through the cracks. As a result, there is a high risk of local landslides which could cause the destruction of the shelters and potential causalities (see the land slide risk map of the Kutapalong makeshift camp49).

Watershed Degradation and Water Scarcity Around 3,000 to 4,000 acres (1,200 – 1,600 ha) of hilly land in the Teknaf-Ukhia-Himchari watershed area have been cleared by removing vegetation cover to erect shelters for the Rohingya people. The watershed absorbs large quantities of rainwater, and holds water with the help of the vegetation cover existing on it; removing the vegetation cover of hills reduces their water retaining capacities. This capacity is already much reduced by the felling of large trees. The watershed acts as a major source of essential fresh water in the form of a stream for local residents; it is used for drinking and other domestic

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bangladesh-rohingya-elephants/wild-elephants-trample-to-death-four-rohingya-refugees-in-bangladeshidUSKBN1CJ0MC

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http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/MYANMAR-ROHINGYA/010051VB46G/index.html

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Profile for Zilla Haider

Report on ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ROHINGYA INFLUX  

This study was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), and UNDP and UN Women, with...

Report on ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF ROHINGYA INFLUX  

This study was initiated by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the Government of Bangladesh (GoB), and UNDP and UN Women, with...

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